A North American Common Nighthawk was discovered by local anglers hunting along the River Maine at Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in late September, rumour has it.
It didn’t take long before birders had been to check it out and sure enough, it was a superb adult male Common Nighthawk. It was then discovered roosting on a log of a fallen tree in a nearby horse field, giving amazing views of a very difficult bird to view in the British Isles.
As the bird was remaining very site faithfull and obviously settled, I made the journey across to Northern Ireland, my very first visit, on Sunday (13th October) on the early morning Stena Line Ferry from Cairnryan, Stranraer. It is only a two hour crossing and a half hour drive to the site from Belfast harbour. So by 9;15 am we were watching this amazing bird, giving crippling views as it roosted on its favoured log.
The only issue we had was from the small group of over friendly horses that kept coming up to us and almost demanding attention. They would then make their way over to the fallen tree, eventually flushing off the Nighthawk that would then make a stunning fly pass, before entering another favoured roosting spot in a nearby tree. It would then spend the rest of the day in the tree until dark, before putting on its aerial display along the river.
A superb twitch, organised by Rob and accompanied by Mike & Chris. A great but tiring day out, well worth the effort.